Off Road

Ford Ranger Raptor to run 2022 Baja 1000 with Kelly, Lovell support

2 Mins read
Credit: Ford Performance

The Ford Motor Company has enjoyed plenty of success at the SCORE International Baja 1000, from the legendary Broncos of the late Rod Hall and Parnelli Jones’ “Big Oly” to the Raptor Trophy Trucks driven by Bryce Menzies and Cameron Steele. For the 2022 race on 15–20 November, Ford Performance will début the new Ranger Raptor with support from Lovell Racing and Kelly Racing.

Lovell Racing’s owner Brad Lovell was inducted into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame on Sunday. Over the weekend, he clinched the Ultra4 USA 4600 championship in a Ford Bronco that he shared with his 16-year-old son Adam; Lovell and fellow Bronco drivers Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Bailey Cole had dominated the 4600 class all season. As part of his Ultra4 racing, Lovell oversees Ford’s rock crawling and Bronco racing programme. He has also won championships in short course racing and the Baja Challenge class at he 2012 Baja 1000.

Kelly Racing is led by 2005 Bathurst 1000 winner Todd Kelly and previously competed in the Supercars Championship until 2022. While it might seem out of place for an Australian touring car outfit to dabble in American off-road racing, the Raptor Ranger was developed in Australia and will not be sold in North America until 2023, thereby making the Baja 1000 a prime location to show off the new vehicle in advance. Australian automotive part company ARB 4×4 Accessories is also involved with the Baja project.

“By entering this event, we’re building on the hundreds of thousands of kilometres of development testing and pushing the Ranger Raptor to new extremes,” said Ford Performance off-road racing supervisor Brian Novak. “The Baja 1000 is a demanding event and a well-known proving ground for off-road vehicles We are excited to compete in this extreme event with Ranger Raptor.”

The truck will be fuelled by a low-carbon biofuel created by Shell. Thirty percent of the biofuel is sustainable material.

“Demonstrating low-carbon fuels in performance settings like the Baja 1000 can help bring biofuels and other clean energy technologies to scale more quickly, and help to make them more available and affordable for everyone,” commented Ford Global Director of Sustainability, Compliance and Homologation Cynthia Williams.

Although Ford’s announcement on Monday did not reveal the driver lineup, Lovell is currently named on the Baja 1000 entry list as the Driver of Record of the #773 Ford in Class 7SX. Others mentioned as team-mates include fellow Ultra4 Bronco racer Loren Healy, Australian Off Road Racing Championship father/son duo Andy and Danny Brown, Jason Hutter, and 2015 Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee Curt LeDuc.

The Raptor is not the only Australian campaign running the 1000. In the Trophy Truck class, Toby Price and Paul Weel will race the #46 truck under the Team Australia banner.

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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